July’s Life-Saving Story: Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Creating a Champion

Zelda, a beautiful and affectionate 5-year-old spayed female Bengal, was surrendered to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving in Reading after developing some medical issues that her previous caretaker could no longer afford to mediate, including a recommended kidney removal.

When Zelda was spayed as a kitten before arriving at Humane PA, it is believed that her ureter was nicked, which caused her urine to stop flowing properly and one of her kidneys to stop functioning. When a prior vet visit resulted in a recommendation to have the non-functioning kidney removed, Zelda’s caretaker made the difficult decision to surrender her to HPA’s care on May 4, 2024.

On May 6, just two days after intake, Humane Veterinarian Dr. Amber Weaver successfully removed the non-functioning kidney, and Zelda recovered without any issues. Once she was out of surgery, Zelda’s previous caretaker reached out to our Berks adoption center staff for an update on how she was doing.

HPA staff relayed the good news that Zelda was recovering well from the surgery and they gave her previous family the option to reclaim her as their own. Despite their love for her, they acknowledged it was not the right time and allowed HPA staff to find a new family for Zelda who would have no problem giving her all the love and attention she deserved.

When Zelda was fully recovered from surgery, she was cleared for adoption and the hunt began for a new family for Zelda. Because of losing one of her kidneys, it was likely that Zelda would have a shortened lifespan and would eventually develop kidney disease, which would normally make her harder to adopt.

Thankfully, Zelda’s new family was not deterred and they promised they would love her unconditionally for the rest of her life. Zelda was officially adopted on May 15, 2024, less than two weeks after being surrendered.

Thanks to the generous support from donors, volunteers, and supporters like you, Humane Pennsylvania was able to give Zelda the lifesaving operation she needed to thrive. Without your help, these second chances would not be possible. Your donation gives us a fighting chance to save even more animals just like Zelda!

June’s Life-Saving Story: A Helping Hand from Humane PA

A Helping Hand from Humane PA: From Hoarded Homes to Happy Homes

On May 24, 2024, Humane Pennsylvania staff at the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving received a call for help from a fellow animal welfare organization asking if we would be able to assist with transferring some of their dogs into our care. They explained that on the previous day, their humane officers removed a total of 51 cats and dogs, ranging from injured to sick to deceased, from a hoarding situation in Bern Township. Officials initially responded to check on an animal with a broken leg and were met with horror when they discovered several animals living in horribly unsanitary conditions. A warrant was issued and the animals were removed from the home, with the assistance of Pennsylvania State Police and Bern Township Police.

The other rescue was already at capacity when the raid occurred, which is why they were asking Humane PA and several other agencies to step in and help. Penelope, Derek, and Rocky were brought to HPA and received their initial intake exams before being officially cleared for adoption! Fortunately, despite the deplorable conditions they were found in, all dogs received clean bills of health.




Rocky, a 1-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier was adopted first on May 30, 2024. Penelope, a 7-month-old Blue Merle, followed suit and was adopted the following day!

Derek, a 1-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier, is still waiting for the perfect human to sweep him off his paws! Please spread the word to help find a loving home for Derek!

Without the generous support from donors and animal lovers like you, we have the resources and supplies we need to help other rescue groups and agencies free up kennel space when they reach capacity. Thanks to you, we were able to step in and assist in giving these helpless animals a life-saving second chance and a loving new home.

May’s Life-Saving Story: Dozer, Little Dozer & Ruby

Dozer, Little Dozer & Ruby: A Triple Threat

Allow us to introduce you to Dozer, Little Dozer, and Ruby! These three pups were brought to Humane Pennsylvania’s Lancaster Campus at the end of April after a fire destroyed their family’s Lancaster home in the early morning of March 24, 2024. The family, along with Dozer, Little Dozer, and Ruby, made it out of the home safely, but tragically, the other pets inside did not survive.  Thankfully, the American Red Cross swept in to provide aid and shelter to the family, but they needed help finding temporary housing for their beloved dogs until they were back on their feet. Humane Pennsylvania’s PetNet Program became the perfect solution.

Image courtesy of Robert Fulton Fire Company and https://local21news.com/

PetNet was originally formed as a way to help victims of domestic violence flee their abusers by providing temporary foster care to pets who could not be taken into domestic violence shelters. Since then, the program has expanded to help pets of caretakers who are temporarily in need of emergency housing for a variety of reasons, including natural disasters or personal catastrophes.

Often, simply providing emergency housing to a pet for a day, week, or month can mean the difference between a pet being surrendered to an animal shelter and remaining with their human companion, which is exactly what happened for Dozer, Little Dozer, and Ruby. All three dogs were comfortable at Humane Pennsylvania’s new boarding facility in Lancaster until their caretakers found a new place to stay and could return for them. Dozer, Little Dozer, and Ruby remained in Humane Pennsylvania’s care for one month, before finally reuniting with their family on April 24, 2024.

Humane Pennsylvania’s PetNet Program relies solely on donations and volunteers to provide pet food, supplies, and basic medical care to pets and caretakers who need help. Thanks to the generosity from donors like you, Humane Pennsylvania is working hard to keep pets happy and healthy at home with the caretakers who love them. If you would like to support PetNet through donations of financial contributions, unopened pet food, or new pet supplies, please contact your preferred Humane Pennsylvania adoption center location.

April’s Life-Saving Story: Anne

Anne: A True Vision

Meet Anne, a beautiful 7-year-old spayed female Calico, who was surrendered to Humane Pennsylvania’s Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving at the end of January 2024 after her elderly caretaker sadly passed away. Upon intake, staff members noticed that Anne did not want to be touched on her head and she could barely open her eyes, due to what appeared to be an eye infection. She had no interest in coming out of her shell. During her initial exam, HPA’s veterinary team noted that they would need to give Anne a thorough sedated exam, to figure out what was causing the infection.

Anne was started on antibiotics shortly after intake, and she went in for her sedated exam on February 9. Unfortunately, while under anesthesia, Humane PA’s veterinary staff discovered that neither of Anne’s eyes were functioning, which was causing her immense pain and discomfort and would lead to further health issues and risks in the future. The infection was severe enough that it warranted the difficult decision to remove both of Anne’s eyes.

Anne’s behavior was like night and day after the double enucleation. The staff could not believe the improvement in her personality. When she first arrived, she would close herself off in corners and preferred to be alone. After surgery, she couldn’t stop purring, giving head bumps, and seeking affection from anyone and everyone! Anne was officially adopted by her new forever family on February 29, 2024, shortly one month after she was first surrendered into Humane Pennsylvania’s care.

Thanks to the generous support from donors, volunteers, and supporters like you, Humane Pennsylvania was able to provide Anne with some much-needed relief. Without you, these life-saving second chances would not be possible. Please donate to help Humane PA build the best community anywhere to be an animal or animal caretaker!

March’s Life-Saving Story: Candy Crush

Candy Crush: Staying Pawsitive

Candy Crush was just four months old when she and her littermates were surrendered to the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving on October 24, 2023, after being found as teeny-tiny strays. Humane Pennsylvania staff recognized that the kittens were in rough shape upon arrival and immediately began treating them for severe eye infections, upper respiratory infections, kitten colds, and dehydration. Candy Crush appeared to have the worst of these symptoms, weighing in at less than one pound during initial intake.

Humane PA Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Alicia Simoneau, recommended that shelter staff use warming blankets to regulate Candy Crush’s temperature, and prescribed medicated eye drops, antibiotics, and fluids. Dr. Simoneau cautioned that Candy Crush may run the risk of losing both eyes, due to the damage already caused.

Candy Crush and her littermates were immediately placed into Humane PA’s foster care program, where they required round-the-clock medical care. After a few days in foster care, Candy Crush continued to lose weight and she was not eating very well. During a follow-up veterinary exam, Candy Crush was diagnosed with Calicivirus, which is a highly contagious virus that causes mild to severe respiratory infection and oral disease in cats. Because of this, her medications and recovery time in foster care were extended.

After spending about one month in foster care, Candy Crush was finally on her way to recovery. Although her check-ups showed that she might experience a slight decrease in her vision, the Humane PA veterinary team felt confident that she would be able to keep both of her eyes. After only two months with her foster family, Candy Crush finally felt well enough to be cleared for adoption. She was finally adopted on December 27, 2023!

Thanks to the generosity and compassion of our staff, volunteers, and donors, Candy Crush received lifesaving treatment that prevented her from permanently losing both of her eyes. She can now live a happy, healthy, and comfortable life with her new forever family. For that, we thank you. Please donate to help us save as many lives as possible!

February’s Life-Saving Story: Karma

Karma: What Goes Around Comes Around

Allow us to introduce you to Karma, a 5-year-old female domestic shorthair, who was surrendered to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving on April 21, 2023, when a family member of her previous caretaker developed allergies to her. During Karma’s initial intake exam, shelter staff noticed that she was limping and having trouble putting weight on her right hind leg. A full veterinary examination showed that Karma was experiencing pain from an old injury that never healed properly, and she was positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). She was placed on an anti-inflammatory medication to help manage her pain, but was otherwise given a clean bill of health. Our adoption specialists started on their quest of finding a new forever family and some good karma for Karma. Karma was adopted after 142 on September 9, 2023.

Sadly, after only two months in her new home, Karma was returned due to having difficulties holding her bladder. Humane Veterinary Staff reevaluated her and found crystals in her urine, putting her at higher risk for developing bladder stones. She was placed on a special prescription diet to help dissolve the crystals and prevent any new ones from forming. It wasn’t long before Karma was back on the hunt for her new forever family. Karma basked in the spotlight – she was featured countless times on HPA social media, shared to many FIV-friendly Facebook groups, and became the focal point of HPA’s Taylor Swift birthday fundraiser on December 13, which raised over $1,100 for the animals in need.

Despite all efforts, Karma remained overlooked at the shelter. However, it was a blessing in disguise because as many passed by her kennel uninterested, Karma was building strong bonds with HPA’s shelter staff. HPA Animal Care Technician, Linne Ortiz, quickly fell in love with Karma’s sweet personality. Linne decided that she would adopt Karma if she wasn’t adopted during the “12 Days of Adoptions” special during Christmas. After almost 200 days spent alone in the shelter, Karma was officially adopted on Christmas Eve, just in time to spend Christmas with Linne and her new forever family.

Thanks to Linne and the rest of the staff at Humane Pennsylvania, Karma was given a second chance to live a happy and healthy life in a safe home with people who love her. Happy endings like Karma’s would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you! Please donate to help us find a forever home for every deserving animal in need.

Linne has always held a special place in her heart for cats like Karma. CLICK HERE to read our blog about all of her beloved “crunchy cats” that she has adopted over the years!

January’s Life-Saving Story: Narwhal

Narwhal: A Life-Saving Transformation

Narwhal, a 7-year-old Cocker Spaniel who was found as a stray by East Lampeter Police Department, arrived in rough shape at the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving in late November. Although it is very hard to see in his intake photo to the left, his coat was severely matted to his skin and there was a strong, evident smell of infection coming from his ears and mouth. Humane Pennsylvania staff made every attempt to locate Narwhal’s original owners, but sadly no one came forward to claim him.

One week after his arrival, Narwhal was sent to HPA’s Reading campus for a full veterinary examination and a much-needed haircut. He was carefully looked over by Humane Pennsylvania Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Alicia Simoneau, who noted that a full ear examination was too painful for him, and recommended that he be placed under sedation for a more thorough ear and mouth exam, which was done the following week.

While under anesthesia, Humane Pennsylvania Veterinarian. Dr. Jackie Connolly noted that Narwhal was suffering from severe ear infections and dental disease that needed to be addressed as soon as possible. He was neutered and received a deep ear cleaning, along with medication for a speedy recovery. HPA veterinary assistants and technicians seized the opportunity to shave Narwhal down while he was sedated. They worked tirelessly, carefully, and diligently to remove the matting in his coat, ears, and paws. Although time was of the essence when it came to his dental issues, Narwhal was woken up from anesthesia for his safety, and his dental procedure was scheduled just a few days later.

Progress photos of shaving Narwhal’s matted paws.

On December 15th, less than a month after he was found as a stray in the worst condition, Narwhal was placed under anesthesia once more for a dental cleaning and to remove any decaying teeth. In total, he had 15 teeth removed. Shelter staff placed him on a wet food diet and provided him with pain medication to help him heal comfortably. He was officially adopted the next day, during HPA’s sponsored 12 Days of Adoptions special.

Matting from Narwhal’s coat and ears.

Humane PA could only provide this life-saving treatment because of the support from generous donors, like you. Like thousands of other pets each year, Narwhal had access to care and treatment that would otherwise not be possible without the exceptional staff and volunteers at Humane Pennsylvania.

December’s Life-Saving Story: Gertrude

Gertrude: Growing into a Beautiful Daisy

Gertrude, a 4-year-old female Pitbull mix was surrendered to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving at the end of September when she was found on the streets by a good Samaritan. When she arrived, she was extremely itchy and had severely flakey, dry skin. Humane Pennsylvania staff took one look at her and knew they needed to get her some help.

Gertrude was immediately seen by Humane Pennsylvania Veterinarian, Dr. Amber Weaver, who diagnosed her with a severe skin infection, most likely caused by allergies and an ear infection. The veterinary staff got Gertrude started on antibiotics and steroids to help combat her infection and provide her with some much-needed relief.

Gertrude received multiple checkups with the veterinary team over the next few weeks, each time showing some improvement, but shelter staff knew that in order to continue and finish her skin-healing journey, they needed to get her out of the confines of the shelter and into a loving, forever home.

After featuring Gertrude as Pet of the Week, she was finally adopted on November 18th, 2023, after spending almost two months in the shelter. Her family immediately fell in love with this sweet girl and knew they could help restore her shiny black coat. Gertrude’s family graciously provided Humane Pennsylvania staff with this update on her:

“On November 18th, 2023, we adopted Gertrude. At first, we weren’t sure because of her skin condition, but we are glad we looked past that because she has such a gentle spirit about her. After only one day, things are moving along on the fast track. She has met the cat and the granddaughter with no issues and lets us know when she needs to go out to use the bathroom. We think it will be a good fit for everyone. Thank you guys so much for what you do. We were told you named her Gertrude because she resembled an old woman. We decided to rename her Daisy because she’s going to transform from an old woman into a beautiful flower. May the blessings of God rest upon you all!”

Thanks to generous support from donors like you, Humane Pennsylvania staff and volunteers were able to provide Gertrude with care and treatment that saved her life and gave her a second chance at a loving family. Please consider giving whatever you can, so Humane PA can save every animal that comes into their care. 

November’s Life-Saving Story: Gino & Aspen

Gino & Aspen: A United Force To Be Reckoned With

Puppy siblings Gino and Aspen were about one month old when they were surrendered to Humane Pennsylvania’s care in early October 2023. A good Samaritan rescued them from someone she walked past on the street, who was handing out the puppies for free. Their rescuer immediately recognized that the young pups were extremely quiet, underweight, and lethargic.

She took the remaining two free puppies home with her to try and nurse them back to health. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Gino and Aspen’s conditions only worsened, and the finder feared that time was running out. She realized they needed more help and brought the puppies to the Freedom Center of Animal Life-Saving on October 12, 2023.

Due to their appearance, both Gino and Aspen were immediately triaged by Humane Pennsylvania’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Alicia Simoneau. Dr. Simoneau concluded that both puppies were extremely underweight, anemic, and lethargic. Thankfully, results showed that both puppies tested negative for Parvovirus.

The Humane Pennsylvania Veterinary staff recommended promptly warming and deworming the puppies, as well as giving them fluids and Karo high fructose corn syrup. Dr. Simoneau also stated that the puppies would require round-the-clock care and overnight feedings every few hours to help regulate their glucose levels.

Gino and Aspen were immediately placed into the HPA foster program for some intensive TLC. Surely, the shelter was not a suitable place for two recovering young pups. The appointed foster family was provided with all the supplies needed to care for the puppies and did an excellent job of loving them and getting them back into tip-top shape, as seen in the photo below. Gino and Aspen received their spay/neuter surgeries and were cleared for adoption on November 10th. Gino was adopted first on November 16th, followed by Aspen shortly after on November 19th.

Thanks to the Humane Pennsylvania staff, volunteers, and generous donors like you, Gino and Aspen were able to make a full recovery and they are growing stronger every single day! It takes a village to nurse one animal back to health and without your help, Humane PA’s work would not be possible. Any amount, big or small, can help save a life.

October’s Life-Saving Story: Max the Senior Westie

Max the Senior Westie: Looks Can Be Deceiving

Max, a 15-year-old West Highland Terrier, was brought into Humane Veterinary Hospitals Reading on July 31, 2023, and appeared to be in rough shape physically. Max’s original owner had recently passed away, and no one else in the family was able to take care of him. Based on the condition of Max’s teeth and coat, as well as the factor of his age, his family believed that their only option to explore was end-of-life services.

Humane Pennsylvania Veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Connolly, examined Max and determined that he still had a lot of spirit and spunk left in him, despite his advanced age and matted, unkept appearance. Besides needing quite a bit of dental work, Max appeared to be in overall good health.

Dr. Connolly immediately called Humane PA’s Adoption Programs Manager, Aida May, to see if there was a spare kennel available for this senior pup at the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving and if staff would be willing to work on finding him a home for whatever amount of time he had left. Everyone unanimously agreed that Max deserved a second chance in a loving home, and his previous family officially signed him over to HPA’s care.

Once in the shelter, animal care technicians and the HPA veterinary team did a full evaluation on Max and found him to be deaf, with limited vision, and in need of some serious dental work and a haircut. He received dental surgery on August 14, where he had all of his teeth removed due to the severity of his dental disease. This required Max to be placed on a wet food-only diet for the rest of his life. After Max got his haircut, he was unrecognizable and looked like a completely different dog!

While in HPA’s care, Max would lay quietly and patiently in his kennel, as he watched almost 170 other animals get adopted before him. Max never gave up hope though, as he was a full triple-threat, getting along with kids, cats, and bigger dogs! After receiving a little extra love on HPA’s social media channels, it was finally Max’s turn to go home. He was officially adopted on September 15!

Humane PA believes that every animal deserves the chance to live a happy and healthy life, which is why they treat every animal as if they are their own. Thanks to the hardworking and compassionate staff at Humane Pennsylvania, and support from dedicated donors like you, Max was able to start over and find a loving home to comfortably live out his golden years! Please consider donating any amount to help HPA give more animals a second chance!

September’s Life-Saving Story: Braveheart and Phoenix

Braveheart and Phoenix: Strength in Survival

On July 6, 2023, a litter of five puppies was surrendered to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving, just barely clinging to life. The previous caretaker explained to HPA staff that his dog had given birth and all five puppies had contracted Canine Parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that commonly affects unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old. After the tragic passing of one puppy in his arms the night before and realizing the remaining puppies were vomiting and experiencing bloody diarrhea, the previous caretaker immediately began seeking help. He reached out to multiple organizations, but no one was able to assist with taking the puppies in. In a desperate final attempt, he enlisted the help of HPA because as heartbroken as he was, he could not bear to watch the remaining puppies succumb to the virus at home.

Aida May, Humane Pennsylvania Adoption Programs Manager, immediately sprang into action after discussing the available options with Dr. Alicia Simoneau, Chief Veterinary Officer, and Damon March, Chief Operating Officer. The mutual decision was made to attempt to save the puppies, who were now showing symptoms of the deadly and contagious disease. The fight for these puppies’ lives was far from over. Shelter staff worked with Dr. Simoneau to create a plan of action, including strict quarantine protocols to protect the rest of the shelter population.  Dr. Simoneau confidently stated that they had a guarded prognosis, but any puppies who made it through the upcoming weekend would most likely survive. Throughout the following weekend, the puppies were given fluids and anti-nausea medication, and staff encouraged the puppies to eat. Sadly, despite the team’s best and exhaustive efforts, three puppies passed away during treatment.

The surviving puppies were rechecked during the following week by Humane PA Veterinarian, Dr. Amber Weaver, who was very pleased by the improvement in their energy levels. During initial intake, they were lethargic, quiet, and still. Now, they were acting like normal puppies again – jumping up and playfully seeking attention. HPA staff continued to monitor the puppies’ weight gain and overall health with caution, but they continued to show promising improvement after each passing day.

After two weeks of treatment, the two surviving puppies, named Braveheart and Phoenix, successfully passed their final check-up with flying colors from the veterinary team, were given vaccines to prevent any further issues, and were officially cleared for adoption. The adorable puppies spent a mind-boggling month on the adoption floor before they were finally scooped up! Braveheart was the first to be adopted on August 17th, and Phoenix was adopted the very next day.

Humane PA is so unbelievably grateful for its generous donors, volunteers, and supporters. Without their help, happy endings for animals like Braveheart and Phoenix wouldn’t be possible.  Please donate to help HPA save even more lives!

August’s Life-Saving Story: Endurance

Endurance: A Test of Strength

This handsome man is Endurance, a 4-year-old male domestic long-haired cat, who spent the first few years of his life as an outdoor cat until he found himself in a tight spot…literally. Endurance has become a familiar face to the Lancaster staff, as he is one of five feral cat regulars that have hung around the Lancaster adoption center since 2022. Endurance, like his feral friends, would show up at the same time every day to be fed and greet Lancaster staff members. Toward the end of May, Lancaster Animal Care Technician, Laura Gibbs, noticed that Endurance stopped showing up to eat and it had been a few weeks since anyone last saw him.

When it came time to feed the feral cats again, Endurance was still nowhere in sight. However, Laura could hear a faint meowing coming from an abandoned building that sits adjacent to the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving. Laura immediately jumped into action and began to crawl under the building, removing insulation and tearing away lining as she got closer to the trapped cat. Staff managed to remove Endurance from the hole he was trapped in and evaluated him to find he was extremely dehydrated, matted, and emaciated, weighing only 5.85 pounds. It was at this point that Endurance got his name, as it was unclear how long he had been waiting for someone to save him.

After one week of receiving fluids, taking antibiotics, and eating a nutritious diet, Endurance was reweighed and was already up to 7.8 pounds! Because of this good news, Endurance was whisked away into one of our foster homes to see if he could be rehabilitated into an adoption candidate or if he would be happier as part of the outdoor cat colony.

While it took Endurance a few days to adjust to being indoors and around people, he started to seek out affection and would even sit with his foster mom at night for chin scratches and belly pats. Foster care truly worked its magic on Endurance, and he was ready to find a pampered palace to call his own. Endurance barely made it onto the adoption floor before his original rescuer, Laura, scooped him up into her arms. Laura has officially deemed herself “a crazy cat lady.” Once filthy, matted, and homeless, Endurance is now clean, mat-free, and completely loved.

Thanks to Laura and the rest of the staff at Humane Pennsylvania, Endurance has found a home to call his very own, and he can live happily ever after as the spoiled, indoor boy he was born to be. Happy endings like Endurance’s would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you! Please donate to help us find a forever home for every deserving animal in need!

July’s Life-Saving Story: Ember


Ember: Rising from the Ashes

“So she searches for light, only to realize it’s in her, like an ember equipped to ignite.”

– Jessica Sorensen

Allow us to introduce you to Ember, a beautiful buff-colored 5-month-old female kitten, who was found within the remains of a rowhome that was destroyed by a fire in the 1000 block of N. 11th Street in Reading at the end of April. Surrounding neighbors living on the block believed that Ember belonged to someone that lived in one of the perished homes, but no one came back for her.

Fire Marshalls removed Ember from the harsh conditions and brought her to the Freedom Center for Animal Lifesaving on June 15th.  When she arrived, she was extremely underweight and her fur was covered in soot and fleas. She even had soot in her ears! Every attempt was made to find her original owner, but no one ever came forward. One of the Fire Marshalls on the scene, Lieutenant John Naylor, mentioned that he recently lost his cat named Sooty, and asked that shelter staff keep the same name for this kitten in Sooty’s honor.

Shelter staff started Sooty on a nutritious wet-food diet for weight gain, gave her a flea treatment, and cleaned her up in preparation for finding her new forever home, which did not take long at all. The following day, shelter staff received an unexpected, but delightful call from Lieutenant Naylor. He stated that after thinking about Sooty all night and discussing it with his family, they decided it was a sign to adopt her and give her a forever home.

That same day, Humane Veterinarian, Dr. Amber Weaver evaluated Sooty and determined that she would not experience any long-lasting side effects of living in the remains of a burnt home. Sooty was then cleared for spay surgery and adoption.

Sooty’s surgery was completed on June 19th and she was adopted by Lieutenant Naylor and family the very next day. They decided to rename her Ember, as she was able to rise from the ashes to glow and thrive in a new forever home.

The life-saving work done at Humane Pennsylvania would not be possible without the support and dedication of our donors, volunteers, and staff. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to rescue Ember from an unfit environment, provide treatment, and find a new forever home for her. Please consider donating to help save the lives of other displaced animals in the community, just like Ember.

June’s Life-Saving Story: Chip


Chip: Looking Good, Feline Good

Meet Chip, a 1-year-old male domestic shorthair who was surrendered to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving at the beginning of April, due to his original caretaker’s declining health. Other than a cloudy right eye from a previous infection, Chip was a healthy cat overall. However, he became extremely shut down at the shelter and would hide in corners, cowering away from anyone who tried to come near him.

Chip was taken to Humane Veterinary Hospitals – Reading to be examined by Humane Veterinarian Dr. Amber Weaver, who immediately noticed an ulcer on Chip’s right eye. She knew that the right medication would do the trick, and hoped that administering the medication would be a breeze like it was with so many other cats before…To her dismay, Chip responded to receiving his medication by hissing, swatting, and displaying overt signs of stress.

When Dr. Weaver re-examined Chip’s eyes, she was disheartened to see increased inflammation of his iris, and prescribed steroid eye drops. Seeing no improvement after administering the drops, Dr. Weaver checked the pressure in both eyes and interestingly found normal pressures in the eye being treated. However, what was believed to be the healthy eye had higher pressure, which was causing Chip immense pain and discomfort, and would likely get worse and more unbearable in time. More medications were prescribed to Chip, which he despised and fought hard to refuse. Without them, however, Dr. Weaver stated that Chip would likely experience continuous pain similar to a constant, debilitating migraine.

Staff were met with a dilemma, and the question had to be asked. What can be done for a cat who loathes eye medication, but would need them for the rest of their life? Without the medication, this condition could seriously impact Chip’s quality of life in his later years. After discussing the options, it was decided that the best course of action would be to remove both of Chip’s eyes to relieve the pressure.

After the successful removal of both eyes, Chip turned into a completely different cat! It was clear how much pain he must have been in, and how much better and happier he felt. Hiding, hissing, and swatting has turned into purring, making biscuits, rolling around, and seeking attention from anyone who walks by. Chip is currently waiting for his new forever family at the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving.

A life-saving double-eye enucleation for Chip would not have been possible without the amazing donors who support the work being done at Humane Pennsylvania. Your generosity gives animals like Chip a second chance at a happy, comfortable life. Donate now to help us save more animals like Chip.

May’s Life-Saving Story: GG the Hamster


A Pet is Worth Saving, No Matter How Small

GG, a scared and defenseless female Hamster, was found stuck in a glue trap on the streets of Reading at the beginning of May. The good Samaritan who found her worked carefully to remove the glue from her stomach and paws, before bringing her to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving.

Shelter staff immediately began treating GG’s skin, while continuing to search for her original owners, thinking someone must be missing her and would surely want her back home, where she is safe and comfortable.

While in HPA’s care, GG was examined by Humane Veterinarian Dr. Weaver, who was relieved to see that GG did not suffer any major, unrepairable injuries. She recommended that GG be monitored and receive daily cleansing baths with a chlorhexidine rinse to heal her irritated skin. She also advised that antibiotics may be needed if GG became lethargic or her skin condition worsened.

Fortunately, the baths helped and GG’s skin began to heal, which cleared her for adoption. After receiving overwhelming interest in this tiny but mighty girl via social media, GG found her new forever family on May 6 and has been getting back into the swing of what she does best – enjoying life as a happy, safe, pet hamster once more.

No matter how big or small, the staff at Humane Pennsylvania always does their due diligence in saving every animal that finds itself in their care. Things were no different in GG’s case. Humane Pennsylvania saw a glimmer of hope in those tiny eyes and immediately acted to save GG’s life, giving her the second chance that she deserved.  Please consider donating to help save the lives of other homeless animals, just like GG. 

April’s Life-Saving Story: Reese


Reese’s Comeback: Miracles Happen

Reese, a 10-year-old domestic shorthair, lived happily with his previous caretaker for 5 years before he was surrendered to the care of the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving this past Winter due to the caretaker’s declining health and inability to afford veterinary care for Reese. During the intake process, shelter staff immediately noticed Reese was covered in live fleas and flea dirt. They saw that his fur was thinning, he had significant scabbing, he was overweight and he was drooling excessively. Despite his concerning appearance, Reese appeared happy and playful to the HPA staff.

Reese was then seen by Humane Veterinarian, Dr. Connolly, who discovered an ulcerated mass underneath his tongue. She immediately feared the worst – Reese may have mouth cancer and recommended that he be placed on a diet in order to be cleared for mass removal surgery as soon as possible. After a few days, the mass became noticeably infected and painful for Reese. Pain medication was prescribed, and he was transferred to Humane Veterinary Hospitals Reading for an emergency mass removal on March 3rd.

After recovering from surgery, Reese went home with a generous hospice adopter and was seen by another local Veterinarian, who gave the dreaded diagnosis. Reese was at extremely high risk for mouth cancer and likely only had 1-3 months to live. Sadly, Reese was returned to the Lancaster shelter shortly thereafter, as he was not getting along with the other cats in the home. It was recommended to Humane PA staff to consider humane euthanasia or find a cat hospice willing to take him in. The shelter staff was confident that someone out there would love Reese unconditionally, so the search for Reese’s forever home continued.

While Reese waited for the right match to come along, he remained in the care of the Lancaster staff and was provided pain medication to keep him comfortable. Naturally, volunteers fell in love with his personality and temperament. One of the dedicated cat volunteers noticed how Reese continued to thrive in the shelter, despite his terminal diagnosis, and very generously decided to cover the cost of having Reese’s mass sent out for testing! The mass was sent out on April 6th and everyone held their breath until the results came back just five days later.

Miraculously, the mass was completely clear of cancerous cells. Reese was now ready to enjoy his second chance at life as a senior cat! On April 14th, the wait was finally over and Reese was adopted! He has been adjusting well to his new home and loves being on the move!

Thanks to the dedication and help from Humane Pennsylvania volunteers, donors, and staff, Reese was given a second chance at being a happy, healthy house cat. With the incredible generosity of supporters like you, animals in our care are able to thrive and survive.

March’s Life-Saving Story: Squash


Squash the Tripod Kitten: What’s in a Name?

Squash, a tiny and defenseless kitten, was surrendered to the care of Humane Pennsylvania in November of 2022 during an emergency walk-in appointment, after a concerned passerby picked him up from the side of a busy road. HPA Animal Care Technicians quickly noticed that the 6-month-old kitten was unable to bear weight on his back legs, and immediately called on the Humane Veterinary team for help.

An x-ray performed by Humane Veterinarian, Dr. Connolly, showed fractures in both back legs, significant displacement in the rear left leg, and a femoral head fracture – likely from being struck by a vehicle. Due to the complexity of the fracture and its proximity to the skin, HPA veterinarians made the difficult but necessary decision to remove the severely broken leg and provide strict cage rest to allow the other leg to heal fully and successfully.

Four days after being surrendered, Squash underwent neuter surgery and a full left leg amputation. Unfortunately, Squash had difficulty recovering from anesthesia due to his size and condition and was showing potential signs of a blood clot – pale gums, low blood pressure, and unresponsiveness. Everyone feared that Squash would not make it through the night.

If miracles truly are real, this little guy’s story sure is one! The following morning, HPA staff saw a complete change and unbelievable improvement in Squash! He was bright-eyed, purring, eating, and attempting to move around. That same day, he was approved for intake and was back to his old kitten ways – making biscuits and begging to be held.

After about three weeks of cage rest, Squash’s right leg healed significantly and he was cleared for adoption. Within another two weeks or so, Squash found his forever home! The Lancaster staff completed a three-week check-in with Squash’s new family in January, and he is having a fantastic time exploring his new home.

Lifesaving treatment and remarkable recoveries like this one would not have been possible without the help of HPA supporters and donors. Generous gifts from animal-lovers everywhere is the only way to ensure that Humane Pennsylvania has the resources needed to provide emergency care for the next vulnerable animal that comes into their care.

February’s Life-Saving Story: Willow


Willow Comes Home: Little Fear, Many Braveries

In May of 2022, the Humane Pennsylvania shelter staff was introduced to Willow, a 9-week-old Shetland Sheepdog who was in pretty rough shape. When she first arrived, her eyes were crusted shut, and she had sore lesions in her ears and on her mouth. Her condition was unlike anything our shelter staff had ever seen before.

Some would say that Willow fell into the lap of her original caretaker when they were approached by a neighbor who was breeding dogs. The breeder handed Willow over, stating she was not worth being treated, and he would ‘dispose’ of her if no one took her. With that, Willow’s original caretaker felt that she had no choice but to take the helpless puppy in. After only a few days, she was heartbroken to discover that she was allergic and unable to keep Willow, which is how she ended up at the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving.

It was obvious to the shelter staff that the poor pup was in extreme discomfort and desperately needed some medical attention. After careful evaluation by Humane Veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Connolly, it was determined that Willow was suffering from Juvenile Cellulitis, also known as Puppy Strangles, an uncommon skin condition that usually develops in young dogs. Willow was clearly in a lot of pain and she cried out when anyone attempted to touch her mouth. Due to the severity of the circumstance, it was quickly determined that Willow should be placed in our foster-to-adopt program, so she could comfortably continue to heal until she was ready to be spayed and placed up for adoption.

After just eight days in HPA’s care, Willow showed enough progress that she was ready to leave for her foster-to-adopt home. While she wasn’t out of the woods just yet, our staff was amazed at how far Willow had come after just a week of treatment. On June 16, about one month after she first arrived at the shelter, Willow was officially adopted by her foster family. During her time in our care and her foster home, Willow has managed to make a full recovery and has completely transformed from a scared, pained, defenseless animal to a beautiful, happy, healthy, outgoing puppy.  Today, she is doing extremely well and is flourishing with her forever family.

Without the instinct of Willow’s original caretaker and the care from our HPA staff, Willow would have never made it this far. Because of the generosity and dedication of our donors, staff, and volunteers, we were able to provide Willow with life-saving treatment and care, as well as the resources her foster family needed to care for her.

Thanks to your support, we were able to give Willow a second chance at a healthy life with a loving family. Please donate now to ensure we have the resources needed to provide life-saving care for the next animal that comes through our door.

January’s Life-Saving Story: Stitch

Introducing Stitch: Little and Broken, But Still Good

When Brandea Taylor, Shelter Manager of The Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving, first saw Stitch on November 15, she could barely hold back her tears. The young Pitbull puppy, which should have weighed fifty pounds or more, was just shy of skin and bones, weighing only twenty pounds. He could barely walk or hold himself up as his caretaker begged for help. She had already taken him to another veterinarian in the area, where he was treated for five days due to extreme diarrhea and vomiting. After spending all she could manage to treat his unknown illness, she returned home with Stitch and medication that unfortunately didn’t work. As his condition worsened, his owner was at the end of her financial and emotional rope, with nowhere else to turn. Before leaving in tears, she asked Brandea to take Stitch into HPA’s care, make him well, and find him a new home.

After examination and bloodwork revealed profound dehydration, malnourishment, and anemia, HPA Veterinarian Dr. Amber Weaver concluded Stitch suffered from a bowel obstruction that would soon prove fatal without immediate action. Dr. Brandon Wegner performed exploratory surgery and was shocked to find a two-inch foam Nerf ball in Stitch’s small intestine, which had been blocking his digestive tract for over a month. Even with the successful removal of the object, Stitch’s comeback was uncertain. To safely recover, he would need careful feedings every four hours for twenty-four hours a day and a night nurse to watch over him. Thankfully, HPA Veterinary Technician, Cindy Rivera, volunteered to take him home each night and bring him back to work every day. After two weeks, he had already gained ten pounds under Cindy’s care and was cleared for adoption.

Stitch’s original owner was overjoyed to hear of his recovery, but she felt she could not give him the life he deserved and asked Brandea to keep her promise to find Stitch a new forever home. Brandea did just that, and Stitch was adopted by a family that met him while he was being fostered. When they returned for Stitch’s follow-up veterinary visit on December 15, he weighed a whopping 40 pounds. He had doubled his weight in just one month!

Stitch’s comprehensive veterinary care directly cost Humane Pennsylvania thousands of dollars, and would have easily cost thousands more, had these services been provided by a for-profit veterinary hospital. Humane PA could only provide this life-saving treatment because of exceptional staff and volunteers, and the support of our generous donors. Like thousands of other pets each year, Stitch had access to care that would otherwise not be possible without Humane Pennsylvania. The animals in our care and the care of those in our community are family, and family means no pet gets left behind or forgotten.

Your support gives animals like Stitch a second chance at life. Help us save more animals now.